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Overview of French

French 202

Facts about the French language in the World

French is used as an official language by 130 million people and is the only language other than English spoken on five continents. Here are the percentages of French speakers on the five continents: Africa, 12.68%; America, 15.42; Asia, 0.86%; Europe, 42.29%; Oceania, 63%.

Among the French speakers, there are 61 million French citizens who live in France and in the following French possessions: Guadeloupe and Martinique (two Caribbean islands), Guyana (on the north coast of South America), St. Pierre et Miquelon (near Canada), many islands of the Indian Ocean (the most famous being Reunion) and in many islands of the Pacific Ocean (the most famous two being new Caledonia and Tahiti).

French is also the native language of 4.5 million in Belgium (45 % of the population), 1.2 million in Switzerland (20 % of the population), 300 000 in Luxemburg (97% of the population) and 27 000 in Monaco (February 28, 2007official language of 7 million people in Québec (22% of the Canadian population, Canada being the US largest trading partner).

Finally, in Africa, French remains one of the official languages in 21 countries, most of them being former French or Belgian colonies.

As for the United States, French is spoken in Louisiana and New England.

In the ranking of major languages of the world, French is number 10.

French is one of the official working languages of the European Union and its institutions, the International Labor Bureau, the International Monetary Fund, the International Olympic Committee, UNESCO, and the United Nations.

French as a foreign language is the second most frequently taught language in the world after English.

Because of the importance of the French language, students should be very confident in choosing French as a primary or secondary major, or as a minor. In a recent listing of international jobs distributed by the US State Department, 47 required or preferred French, as opposed to only 29 for Spanish. Graduates seeking careers in business, communication, education, entertainment, government agencies, journalism, management, marketing, medicine, and travel will greatly benefit from their competency in French.


Taylor "The department of Foreign language is a diverse group of people led by a an intelligent, passionate and cultured staff. It's a department that offers many exciting opportunities for its students and guides them through their education." Taylor – French